A.S. Face 0369: Pennie A. Murdock

My name is Pennie Murdock and I too am the face of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

It was when I was in my early 20’s that I knew something was wrong, I began the journey by Doctoring with my GP. For years he diagnosed me with Arthritis, then changed his mind and told me it was Lupus when I was 28. So for about 2-3 years they shoved Chemotherapy drugs down my throat in hope’s that it would make a difference. Well, the only difference that it made was that; I was sick from the Chemotherapy drugs all the time. And at that point my “normal life” was anything but normal.  Here I was, young and felt like I was an old woman. Walking was a challenge, everyday life was a challenge and a night when I would finally fall into bed I was EXHAUSTED, but couldn’t sleep because the pain took over and left me with LONG SLEEPLESS nights.

One day I had FINALLY HAD ENOUGH, the pain was getting worse, I could hardly walk, and I was so consumed by the pain that all I could do was think about the pain. It took me going to my GP in hysterical tears one day for him to set me up with a Rheumatologist.

Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a whole new life changing journey.  I seen the Rheumatologist, he did the exam, sent me for x-rays and blood work. I returned to his office 2 weeks later with my Mother in tow for the results only to be told that I had tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene and that I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. So unaware of what this disease was my Rheumy was so considerate when he handed me a small 3 folded pamphlet explaining very vaguely what the heck this was. I cried all the way home thinking that I was just handed this life sentence and still had really no clue what AS is. Everything I learned about AS I learned on my own, it’s such a complex disease that it was absolutely confusing, mind boggling, and scary to learn all of this. Many nights I sat at my computer crying because I knew no one with this disease and felt like I was all alone.

The Rheumy now has me on quite a cocktail of drugs to keep the disease somewhat under control but us ASer’s know AS is NEVER really under control it “just is what it is”.

My life has changed so much since I’ve joined the AS support group on Facebook, these WONDERFUL people have become my family. I continue to learn more and more about this dreadful disease everyday and am so grateful for this information knowing “it’s normal” without me feeling like a freak. I finally feel like someone understands me and knows my daily struggles with no judgments.

Minnesota United States of America

9 Responses to “A.S. Face 0369: Pennie A. Murdock”

  1. Hi Pennie 🙂

  2. Dear Pennie,
    Thank you so much for being a part of my vision.
    Sincerely Cookie

  3. Welcome BACk pennie!! Maybe we’re the normal ones, and the rest of the world are the “freaks” (I watch too much twilight zone). I remember my first “night” at the computer learning about AS. 10 years later I can “see myself sitting there”. But that was a long time ago, we’re both used to it, our worse fears never came to pass, and AS is an “old act”. Right!! My “cocktail” has mine under controll (I didn’t feel that way last week) too, but my favorite term to tell the Rhuemy is ” I can tell it’s bubbling right under the surface.” It makes a run at some joint for a few days-but then loses steam. When you squeeze the baloon here, it pops up over there.

  4. Pennie
    I am so glad to have become friends brought together by AS. My mom always says that she wishes there was a support group for me…since I was 25 years old. NOW there is and its a gift that Cookie has given to all of us! I hope to become friends with more ASers…Thanks Pennie for sharing your story again! It so comforting to here these similar journeys….


  5. Aww……cant believe they had u on chemo unreal…..great story hun. See u r my neighbor in MN :)….where abouts u live? I used to live Cambridge/isanti area…

  6. I watched My baby sister Rita suffer for so many years with MS, I understand how terrible it can be to feel so awful and have some inconsiderate jackass (pardon my language) tell you that “you dont look sick…” She lived in constant pain, never knowing when or where the next attack would happen. The first one, left her blind for two months. It took years to get her sight back to anything that resembled “normal” I hated to watch her go through this, knowing there was nothing I could do to fix it. I think that you are very brave! to have gone through all this, to educate, first yourself and then others. I pray for your peace and as much comfort as you can have.
    Sandi St. Onge

  7. Penny – thank you for sharing your story. You have AS for about as long as I ha e, it becomes a way of life. Some day I will get brave ans share my story

  8. Our journeys all so similar. Thank you for sharing again. Makes me want to reshare mine..
    So glad to be given the gift of my AS family by Cookie.

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